INTERNET RESTAURANTS : Kallol Banerjee, co-founder of Rebel Foods which runs 301 cloud kitchens backing up 2,200 ''Internet restaurants'' was among the first entrepreneurs to embrace the concept in 2012. 

RASHMI Sahijwala never expected to start working at the age of 59, let along join India's gig economy - now she is part of an army of housewives turning their homes into ''cloud kitchens'' to feed time-starved millennials.

Asia's third-largest economy is battling a slowdown so sharp it is creating a drag on global growth, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday, but there are some bright spots.

The gig economy aided by cheap mobile data and abundant labour, has flourished in India, opening up new markets across the vast nation.

Although Indian women have long battled for access to education and employment opportunities, the biggest hurdle for many is convincing conservative families to let them leave home.

But new apps like Curryful, Homefoodi, and Nanighar are tapping the skills of housewives, to slice, dice and prepare meals for hungry urbanites from the comfort of their homes.

The so-called cloud kitchens - restaurants that have no physical presence and a delivery only model -are rising in popularity as there is a boom in food delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato.

''We want to be the Uber of home-cooked food,'' said Ben Mathew, who launched Curryful in 2018, convinced that housewives were a huge untapped resource.

His company - which employs five people for the app's daily operations - works with 52 women and three men, and the 31-year old web entrepreneur hopes to get one million female chefs on-board by 2022.

''We usually train them in processes of sanitisation, cooking, prep time and packaging....and then launch them on the platform,'' Mathew said.

One of the first housewives to join Curryful in November, 2018 shortly after its launch, Sahijwala was initially apprehensive, despite  having four decades of experience in the kitchen.

But backed by her children, including her son who gave her regular feedback about her proposed dishes, she took the plunge.
Since then, she's undergone a crash course in how to run a business, from creating weekly menus to buying supplies from wholesale markets to cut costs.

The learning curve was steep and Sahijwala switched from cooking everything from scratch to preparing curries and batters for breads inadvance to save time and limit leftovers.

She even bought a massive freezer to store fruits and vegetables despite her husband's reservations about the cost. ''I told him that I am a professional now,'' she said.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on India's gig economy, technology and opportunities, continues. The World Students Society thanks AFP.,   


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